A student from Leeds has raised £469 for the lifesaving helicopter charity that came to his aid when he fell off a small cliff ledge as a child.

Owen Cotter, 23, from Headingley, Leeds, set himself the challenge to run 5k a day during October for the charity close to his heart.

The final-year events management student, at Leeds Beckett University, needed the help of the Wales Air Ambulance in 2007. The medics were called to his aid on Pwlldu Bay Beach in South Wales, following his accident.

Recalling the incident, Owen said: “Being nine I thought I was action man, which meant I heavily underestimated the difficulty it would be to ascend some big dangerous jagged rocks. I fell off a small cliff ledge which resulted in me snapping my left ankle (tibia and fibula) and I also ended up with a smashed-in face. Fortunately, the Wales Air Ambulance airlifted me to safety!

“It was a no brainer picking the Wales Air Ambulance as the charity to raise funds for. Air ambulances are extremely important, they play a key role in saving people’s lives every day.”

Owen, who had done some running during lockdown, decided to complete the challenge during the 31 days in October because it was his birthday month.

Owen wanted to ‘try to do something outside of the box’ to raise funds for the Wales Air Ambulance.

Speaking of the challenges of running 5k a day every day, Owen said: “The running itself eventually got easier but it was definitely more of a mental challenge to consistently run every day because I had to push through those negative thoughts telling me to have a day off.

“To get through it, I kept reminding myself that the Wales Air Ambulance service doesn’t have a day off because they provide an incredible service that saved me when I was nine.”

Completing the challenge has been more symbolic because four years after his accident, doctors discovered that his left ankle wasn’t growing properly. This resulted in him having a double leg operation to take out both of his ankle growth plates and straighten up his left leg with screws.

He added: “This rendered me bedbound for about two months and it took a lot of physio and medical assistance to get me walking again. Maybe I did the challenge to prove that my legs officially work.”

Mark Stevens, Wales Air Ambulance South Wales Fundraising Manager, said: “It is humbling to hear that more than a decade after his accident Owen has decided to raise funds for our Charity. To undertake this challenge despite his serious leg injuries is inspiring and a testament and determination and bravery. Thank you to Owen and everyone who sponsored him.”